Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861 / Durham / England)

The Prisoner


I count the dismal time by months and years
Since last I felt the green sward under foot,
And the great breath of all things summer-
Met mine upon my lips. Now earth appears
As strange to me as dreams of distant spheres
Or thoughts of Heaven we weep at. Nature's lute
Sounds on, behind this door so closely shut,
A strange wild music to the prisoner's ears,
Dilated by the distance, till the brain
Grows dim with fancies which it feels too
While ever, with a visionary pain,
Past the precluded senses, sweep and Rhine
Streams, forests, glades, and many a golden train
Of sunlit hills transfigured to Divine.

Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001

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